Whether intentional or not, RIM isn't doing a great job at keeping its new BlackBerry phone a secret.
Over the last few weeks, there have been several leaks of the BlackBerry Z10, the first device that'll run RIM's new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system.
Here's a taste of what my source told me:
- The Z10's build quality is really solid, with a rubber back that snaps off so you can replace the battery.
- The screen looks nice and has a high resolution.
- Web browsing is very fast, just as fast as browsing on your desktop.
- BB10 lets you set up separate profiles for work and personal use. This is perfect for those who don't want to carry around a separate work phone.
- The hardware is pretty fast and boots up in less than a minute.
Like most analysts, I only think BB10 has a modest chance of success. It's taken RIM way too long to finally catch up with Apple's iOS and Google's Android, and it'll take some sort of miracle to make consumers and big-time developers care this late in the game.
That's not necessarily because Android and iOS are better, but it is because that's where the vast majority of the users already are. Google and Apple already have the rich content and app ecosystems people want.
With BB10, RIM is starting from scratch. Aside from a few developers and early testers, there are zero BB10 users in the world. I'm sure BB10's app store will have many of the basics at launch, but when it comes to delivering the popular apps and updates people want, I doubt developers will deliver them to BB10. And that's what users really care about.
It's the same problem that plagues Windows Phones.
But all that aside, the more I hear about the Z10, the more intrigued I get. The Z10 hardware looks good. The leaked, near-final version of BB10 looks good. (Even the test version of BB10 developers are using is really nice.)
On paper, that adds up to a phone I'd at least consider using. As much as I love my iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III, I'm bored with them. (After five years, iOS feels especially stale.) The only major thing keeping me away from something fresh like Windows Phone is the lack of app developer support.
I have a feeling the story will be the same once I get my hands on the Z10. It'll be a great phone and operating system, but won't come with the guarantee that I'll be getting the best content that iOS and Android already have.
And I have the feeling that no matter how good the final product is, it's too late for the Z10 to be the monster hit RIM needs it to be.
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